I just sold Santiago to Italy’s Edizioni della Vigna. If you’ll check the bibliography section here, you’ll see that this is the 21st time I’ve sold it, excluding the endlessly renewed movie options.
I knew, back in 1984, that I wanted to create a myth of the far future. Then one day Carol saw a movie on TV, rented it at the store the next day, and sat me down in front of it to listen to a 45-second speech she’d moved the tape ahead to. The film was Sergio Leone’s Duck, You Sucker!, which has since been retitled A Fistful of Dynamite. In it, James Coburn plays a betrayed and disillusioned IRA revolutionary, an explosives expert who is now working for the Emperor Maximillian in Mexico. And in this brief speech, he explains that once he believed in truth and justice and loyalty and the IRA, and now all he believes in is the dynamite.” That was all the impetus I needed. You won’t find the line or even the situation in the novel, but without Carol sitting me down to listen to it, there would have been no Santiago.